Health (things to know)

Resisting Temptation: Staying Healthy through the Holidays

The holidays can be a very difficult feat for those who have issues with diet and exercise. Well, really, it’s about self control; a problem that’s extremely common now-a-days.

This just cracked me up 🙂

I’ll be honest: I often find things of this nature to be boring. I mean, how many times do you read the same “food avoidance” and “diet” tips over and over? Is there anything you haven’t tried? Nothing seems all that novel. At least, to me.

So I struggled with this post in particular because I wasn’t sure how much new information it would provide. Presumably anyone reading this is already pretty health savvy, right?  Despite this, I do think it’s important to talk about. Because self control issues are absolutely real, and no amount of good advice can ever be too much. So hopefully my advice is good!

No one wants holiday bloat!

I think the most important thing to keep in mind when trying to avoid over indulging is this:

Are you eating because you’re hungry or are you eating for something else?

Listen to your body and turn your mind off when you don’t need the food. This is probably one of the most difficult things to do- sit away from the cheese board or put the bowl of chocolates in another room. Distract yourself with conversation. Take a walk. Have a glass of water. Water is probably the best idea because it will also help you feel fuller. The more you pay attention to your thought process the better you will become at identifying whether you are actually hungry. Logically, if you just ate lunch, you shouldn’t be starving for a giant chocolate brownie. That being said, there are certainly times when a chocolate brownie is a worthwhile treat.

When you decide you are actually hungry the next step is portion control. Everything in moderation. I know the “standard” advice is to load your plate up with veggies and healthy proteins and skimp on everything else. You’re welcome to do this, but I know that for some people, it’s not enough. You won’t be satisfied. So, what to do? Have small amounts of the things you want to eat.

I think that most self control issues don’t actually stem from hunger; so whether or not you fill yourself until you feel sick with healthy veggies and proteins galore, you might still be tempted by the table full of desserts in the kitchen. Self control problems come from deprivation- not allowing yourself to indulge appropriately every so often. It’s okay to eat the carbs. It’s okay to have sweets. Just don’t over do it.

Grab a small plate. Portion out the unhealthy things you want to try. Have half of a cookie instead of the whole thing. Don’t eat it all so quickly! Take small bites and really enjoy your indulgences. If you don’t, you’ll still be unsatisfied.

None of this is easy. Trust me, I know. It took me about 5 or 6 years to really figure out what would work for me (but that’s another story for another day).

Oh, and don’t forget to exercise! Even if it’s only 10 minutes. Seriously- those minutes count! You’ll feel better about permitting indulgences if you’ve exercised, and you might even find that you are less tempted by sweets.

In sum:

1) Eat only when you’re hungry

2) Drink lots of water

3) Let yourself indulge in limited portions

4) Exercise

Feel free to share other ideas/tips in the comments section!



4 thoughts on “Resisting Temptation: Staying Healthy through the Holidays

  1. I happen to be a recovering drunk who exercis, a lot. I also have a very good ex-drunk friend who doesn’t. He is one inch talker and weighs 2-1/2 times what I do. My wife placed 3 plates of cookies at his table at a bowling alley (table next to ours, fewer people, more room). During the first game I noticed he was standing two tables down. He likened having the cookies at his table to “having three trays of ‘crack’ in front of him”. It’s hard to put my embarrassment into words.

    I look at snacks as you do, I have that control. My friend Jerry does not – he recoils from sweets as if from flame. To truly put the difference into words is difficult. One almost must have the experience of being hopelessly addicted to understand completely. The point is, for many obese people, our way just doesn’t work, as much sense as it may make.

    • It’s always a work in progress. I definitely think it’s much more difficult for those who are predisposed to addiction problems. I’m sorry to hear that your friend is struggling so much- I know there are plenty of others in his shoes. Sometimes finding outside help and support can make a difference as well. All we can do is continue to show our support and encouragement as friends.

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